Sunday, October 19, 2014

ThingLink for Video Adds Interactivity

I'm taking a MOOC through Coursera and UC Irvine called Advanced Instructional Strategies in the Virtual Classroom. This week, we had to turn in an assignment. One of the options for the assignment was to make an introductory video for an online course. I've used several video creation apps and programs before, so I thought it would be easy. But not so fast. The video needed at least one interactive element! That's not something I've done before.


Enter ThingLink for Video, which was one of the recommendations for adding interactivity made by the course instructor. If you are familiar with ThingLink, you know it's a tool for adding clickable icons to graphics. Recently, they've added an option for adding clickable icons to videos.

The only catch is, if you want to try ThingLink for Video, you have to purchase ThingLink premium. A one year subscription for educators is $35. I got a slight discount as a member of the MOOC, so I went for it. Even though I'd never signed up for or used the original ThingLink before. Time to find out what all the fuss is about!

So, here's how I created the video below. It's a mashup recipe, for sure!
  • I used the free AdobeVoice app for iPad to create the original video, then uploaded it to the Adobe Voice website.
  • I used Camtasia Studio on my PC to record the uploaded video while playing it from the AdobeVoice website. Camtasia is not a free program, but there are other screencast recording tools out there that could probably be used. They need to be able to save into a format that can be uploaded to YouTube, though.
  • I saved the Camtasia video in mp4 format and uploaded it to YouTube.
  • I used ThingLink for Video to incorporate interactive elements in the video.
And there you go! ThingLink for Video was very self-explanatory. There aren't too many options on the interactive icons when you insert them, which made it easy for a newbie like me. The thing I had a little difficulty with was adjusting where the links appear and disappear in the video.

There isn't a timeline you can drag the links on to tweak their starts, so you basically have to delete the link and start again if you didn't get the timing just right. Not too cumbersome, but it would be nice if it could just be adjusted on a timeline. Additionally, there are only three options for how long the link displays in the video: short (5 secs), medium (10 secs), and long (15 secs). Perhaps in future versions, the ability to more finely tune link lengths will be added.

All in all, it was easy to use and I think the video does its job. I've embedded the video below. Let me know what you think! Also, please share other tools you've used to make videos interactive. Thanks!







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All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BYOD in Elementary Schools

Image Used With Permission 
Have you implemented BYOD in an elementary school setting? In the U.S., that's grades K-5, or students aged 5-11.

We're about to launch a pilot at one of the K-5 elementary schools in my school district, and I'd like to collect stories of elementary BYOD implementation, links to videos and anecdotes, training materials and ideas - essentially, anything that has to do with BYOD in the elementary classroom.

Our infrastructure is in place, so technical specs are not something I'm looking for. Oh, and of course I'm going to share back what we have and what we come up with. Here's a link to the BYOD info page from my school district. We started BYOD in grades 6-12 last year, so we have policies and such in place.

But elementary school is a different animal! So no matter what state or country you teach or work in, if you have resources to share for implementing BYOD with younger students and their teachers, please take some time to share in the comments below. Write all the details you want there, or post a link to something you already have posted online elsewhere. If possible, please leave your Twitter handle in your comment so others with questions might connect with you.

Let's collect some fabulous resources so we can all learn from one another and improve instruction for all of our students. Thanks in advance for your contributions!




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All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Your Kid's Future Depends On Their Online Behavior Now

Photo by Paul Hocksenar
Used Under a Creative Commons License
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, pastor, educator, or any other adult who has a vested interest in or cares about a child, teen, or young adult, I hope your care extends to what the young people in your life are doing online.

Do you understand how much of their future could be depending on the things they are posting right now on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Vine, or pick-whatever-social-media-tool is popular today? Do they understand it?

Based on what I see kids in my own community posting on Twitter, I think there's a huge lack of understanding out there.

I've read stories and talked about them over and over and over, but I don't think my retelling of such tales has any impact. At least, not as much as the original tales themselves should have.

So, I started collecting the stories, including direct interviews of and original Tweets posted by those who may hold the future opportunities of kids just like the ones you care for in their hands. You'll see many examples relating to athletes, but there are non-athlete examples as well.

Maybe seeing these stories will convince you as a caring adult to not bury your head in the sand and ignore the online behavior of the kids your care about. Or maybe showing these original examples to the kids you care about will help you educate them and get their attention. I don't know. But having this resource can't hurt.

I am using an online tool called Storify to curate these stories, and I will continue adding to the list. So feel free to bookmark or favorite or pin this post and revisit it on occasion.

And please, do more than just save it to your list of resources. Use the information here to educate yourself and others that the online actions of immature young people can slam shut doors of future opportunity for them. Use the information to convince yourself that you aren't being nosy or intrusive or overbearing when you take an interest in what the kids in your life are doing online and offer them advice and guidance. If you're an educator, come up with ways to integrate this topic into your classroom, even if it's just an occasional informal discussion. If you're a parent, use it as a reason to set clear expectations for online behavior early on with your tweens.

Here's hoping for a bright future for all of the kids we love and care for...





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 All original work in this post by Sandy Kendell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Please see specifics on my re-use policy in the right-hand column of my blog before re-posting/re-using any of my blog content.
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